Just 4 candidates show up to listen to KP residents' woes
In addition to encroachments, noise pollution, stray dogs and law and order issues, Koregaon Park residents, who fall in Panel Number 21, have two major problems -- extortion of funds by local Ganeshotsav mandals and missing names on the voter list.
To discuss these issues with the leaders contesting the civic election, residents called a meeting with all the candidates. Only four turned up. The residents asked the candidates to put an end to the forced payment of funds and also prevent mandals from putting up pandals on roads and footpaths in Koregaon Park.
"There are already enough encroachments and erecting pandals in the middle of the roads is worsening the problem. Also, why do the mandals have to force us to pay money? We'll give it on our own," said a resident.
In the meeting held on Sunday, a large number of residents were present along with Lt Gen D B Shekatkar (Retired), chairperson of Koregaon Park Mohalla Sudhar Samiti (KPMSS), and Satish Khot, president of National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC), who had invited candidates from all political parties contesting the election.
Despite sending invitations as well as a charter of demands to apprise the invitees of what citizens expect of them, only four candidates attended. Yogesh Pingle, Sangeeta Tiwari of the Congress, Rajendra Wagaskar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Surekha Gaikwad of the Shiv Sena were the ones who turned up, and they all promised the residents they would look into the issues raised by them.
"They have promised that they will cooperate and see that there will be no extortion by the mandals. But we are disappointed about other candidates not attending the event despite notifying them in writing. If they are not concerned now, how can they be responsive to citizens' concerns after they are elected?" said Jyoti Palekar, a member of KPMSS.
The Koregaon Park residents have also been stressing on missing names of some of them in the voter list, as a result of which they are unable to cast their votes. "We have been giving written applications for the past two to three years, but still the names don't appear on the list. Due to this, those who are interested in voting, are unable to vote," said Palekar.
All those candidates who were present at the event agreed to pay attention to citizens' demands and said that they would attend the monthly mohalla committee and ward office meetings. "We have informed the candidates that their performance will be reviewed by the citizens with respect to their commitments," said Khot.